That’s how Thaddeus Young (18 points, 10 rebounds) and Jrue Holiday (20 points on 8/12 shooting) were celebrating up and down the court after Young slammed home an alley-oop from Elton Brand, putting the 76ers up 78-60 late in the third quarter. The Sixers (28-29) would go on and hand the Wizards their 27th road loss this season, 117-94 at Wells Fargo.
The evening was filled with excitement and animation from the Sixers bench, both on and off the court. Players were literally jumping out of their seats, high-fiving and almost gloating in front of the Wizards, a team who earlier this season handed the Sixers two crushing overtime defeats. At one point early in the third quarter the entire team went bananas after a Spencer Hawes tip-in dunk.
The streaking 76ers, who’ve won 11-of-14, had no trouble finding open jump shots against the spotty Wizards defense and deposited 51.3 percent of their shots. That doesn’t include the 29-of-33 from the free throw line or the 8-of-17 three pointers (47 percent) the Sixers connected on. That’s the most three pointers the Sixers have hit since the January 28thepic fail against the Grizzlies. The leading three point shooter you ask? Andre Iguodala. All three of his field goals came from beyond the deep line, for 10 points.
In the second and third quarter Philly manufactured 64 total points, compared to the Wizards paltry 63 points in the second, third and fourth quarter combined. The Wizards 31 point first quarter off of a 17-5 run evaporated into thin air. Jrue Holiday needs to be commended for being the instigator in team energy which normally can be a key component missing right after an all-star break.
The bench accounted for 29 of the 49 rebounds, kind of a testament to the blowout, but kind of a testament to the hustle of the young guys. Outside of Thaddeus’ 10 grabs, Evan Turner (15 points) pulled down eight in 26 minutes and a motivated Mo Speights yanked seven boards, also pitching in an array of jumpers and 14 points. Evan Turner even got some revenge on Wall for all the spotlight he deservedly has taken in the 1 vs. 2 draft debate. In the fourth Turner pulled an Ohio State-like crossover dribble, freezing Wall at the free throw line and buried a jumper at the elbow. I couldn’t help but smile.
Iguodala was matched up on Sixer killer Nick Young instead of the Al Thorton-Josh Howard combo Collins has ordered in previous matchups. And although Young won’t be added to his ‘victim list’, he was kept in check throughout the second and early third quarter when the Wizards were still capable of making it a ball game.
Wait, go back and read the players I just mentioned. The Wizards are nearly unbearable to watch, and this is coming from a guy who grew up a die-hard Bullets fan during the days of Chris Webber and Juwan Howard. Washington is still laying the foundation of rebuilding, a process that just got extremely harder in the east. The stunning arrivals of Carmelo and Deron Williams on back-to-back days are going to have ripple effects in the conference for the rest of the decade.
Don’t get me wrong. John Wall was all the prodigy he’s been hyped up to be tonight (21 points, 12 assists). The Sixers idiotically kept sticking to him like glue, instead of exposing his merely average jumper. Outside of him? Rashard Lewis, the League’s second highest paid player, had one point. One freaking point! JaVale McGee didn’t score and had three rebounds. The Wizards should consider unloading him. And the franchise inanely rewarded Andray Blatche, one of the most selfish NBAers, with a 5-year 35 million dollar deal. By the way, did you notice Blatche’s name was misprinted as on his jersey Wednesday evening? B-A-L-T-C-H-E. That just shows you how bad things are in Washington right now and the whirlwind of trouble that lies ahead for that club in the foreseeable future.
Speaking of trades, the deadline is tomorrow. Thaddeus Young better be staying put. He’s averaging just under 20 points in his last four contests. The Sixers shouldn’t get tempted by the likes of Chris Kaman or Marcus Camby. Making the playoffs is the first step in what it takes to lure a big superstar to our City of Brotherly Love.
At this point, wins like these are nothing to brag about. I loved the Sixers energy tonight, but there’s not need to get overly wrapped up in beating the NBA’s worst road team of all-time. It’s nice to know the win means that we’ve now eclipsed last season’s total of 27 and come within one game of .500 since the opening night loss against the Miami 3eet. But now its time to nod your head and look towards Friday and the visiting Detroit Pistons.
- “When word got around, guys kind of lost their concentration,” Washington coach Flip Saunders said of the Kirk Hinrich trade to Atlanta. Hinrich was on the Wiz bench for the first half, but did not come out of the locker room at halftime. John Wall commented, “Kirk’s a veteran guy who taught me an awful lot about NBA basketball. I’ll really miss him. And Hilton was a good friend, too. I wish them both well.”
- The 3-ball Speights dropped last night was his first of the year.
- Of course NBA.com has the highlights of the Sixers whoopin’ up on the Wizards.